Blessed Carlo Acutis

Carlo Acutis, a Catholic Italian teenager who died in 2006, will be beatified Oct. 10 in Assisi. Acutis, a gamer and computer programmer who loved soccer and the Eucharist, has been the subject of interest around the world. Pope Francis referred to Carlo as a model of holiness in a digital age. Carlo’s life should teach today's young people how to properly use and enjoy technology, including the internet and social media.

To always be close to Jesus, that’s my life plan

Carlo Acutis was born May 3, 1991, in London though his family moved to Milan shortly after. From a young age, Carlo seemed to have a special love for God, even though his parents weren’t especially devout. His mom said she had been to Mass only for her First Communion, her confirmation, and her wedding but young Carlo's unique and unexplained devotion led to her deep conversion. The priest promoting his cause for sainthood noted that Carlo “managed to drag his relatives, his parents to Mass every day. It was not the other way around; it was not his parents bringing the little boy to Mass, but it was he who managed to get himself to Mass and to convince others to receive Communion daily.” What an inspiration for a child to model faith witness to a family!

He had a gift for empathy and was known for defending kids at school who got picked on, especially disabled kids. Carlo loved soccer and video games. He tried to stay disciplined and only played games for an hour a week even though he really wanted to play much more. He also bought computer programming books and taught himself computer coding and animation. He had a great devotion to Mary loved to pray the rosary. He went to Mass and confession as often as he could.
He loved the Eucharist and was fascinated by Eucharistic miracles. He asked his parents to take him on pilgrimages — to the places of the saints, and to the sites of Eucharistic miracles. Using his research, he began creating what would eventually become a website to catalog and share the information with others. Carlo was concerned by people growing distant to the Church and the sacraments and desperately wanted to bring them back. On the site, he told people that "the more often we receive the Eucharist, the more we will become like Jesus, so that on this earth we will have a foretaste of heaven."

At age 15, Carlo was diagnosed with an untreatable leukemia. He offered up his suffering for others coping with illness and said, “I offer all the suffering I will have to suffer for the Lord, for the Pope, and the Church.” Carlo died from his illness on Oct. 12, 2006. At his request he was buried in Assisi because of his love for St. Francis. His cause for canonization began in 2013 and he was designated “Venerable” in 2018. A healing miracle has been attributed to his intercession and he will be designated “Blessed” October 10.

His tomb has been opened and his intact body lies in repose in a glass tomb where he can be venerated by pilgrims until Oct. 17. He is displayed in jeans and a pair of Nikes, the casual clothes he preferred in life. The rector for the Sanctuary of Spoliation in Assisi, where Acutis’ tomb is located, called him a witness that holiness is attainable for teenagers. “For the first time in history we will see a saint dressed in jeans, sneakers, and a sweater,” the rector said. “This is a great message for us, we can feel holiness not as a distant thing but as something very much within everyone’s reach because the Lord is the Lord of everyone.”

Archbishop Domenico Sorrentino of Assisi said “Carlo is a boy of our time. A boy of the internet age, and a model of holiness of the digital age, as Pope Francis presented him in his letter to young people around the world. The computer … has become a way of going through the streets of the world, like the first disciples of Jesus, to bring to hearts and homes the announcement of true peace, that which quenches the thirst for the infinite that inhabits the human heart.”

Blessed Carlo's Beatification Mass will be televised on ETWN Saturday, October 10.

Check your tv listings for information or the EWTN website for streaming links.

On his website, Carlo wrote a list of instructions for becoming holy . . . but his very first rule was this: “You must want it with all your heart." This is the legacy of Venerable Carlo Acutis: an ordinary, modern kid who watched cartoons and used the internet and wanted holiness with all his heart. This is why the world loves him. Because he shows us that holiness is possible. For every one of us. Even if you have an Instagram account. Even if you’re a gamer. Carlo Acutis was born in 1991. That fact alone is a testimony: Holiness is possible. For you. Right now. But you have to want it.

Meg Hunter-Kilmer, Our Sunday Visitor